Rifle man had several pending criminal charges before death | PostIndependent.com

Rifle man had several pending criminal charges before death

Post Independent staff report

A Rifle man whose body was found along the Colorado River near Parachute earlier this month had several pending criminal court cases in Garfield County, including drug-related charges and a recent domestic incident.

Whether any of that recent past played a part in Joshua Gomez's disappearance and subsequent death is not something law enforcement are speculating about at this point, however.

Garfield County Coroner Rob Glassmire said Tuesday there's still no new information on Gomez's death.

The 29-year-old's body was found on an island in the Colorado River the afternoon of June 9, and Glassmire says the cause and manner of death is still pending toxicology. It could take four to six weeks, Glassmire said, adding lately "it's been around two to four weeks."

“If anyone knows anything, please call the authorities. His past shouldn’t be an issue for closure.”

— wife of Joshua Gomez

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Officials say Gomez was last seen at a bus stop in New Castle around May 25, and the Coroner's Office is asking the public for any information regarding Gomez's whereabouts after that time.

No injury or trauma was noted during his autopsy, and family members say the information they have is the same knowledge the public has.

His family described him as a proud man and a loving father, who always held his head high no matter the circumstances. He was buried alongside a long list of relatives at Gomez Cemetery in Gomez, Colorado, this past weekend.

Gomez's death came amid several pending court cases for alleged crimes drug-related activity in recent months and dating back to 2014, according to Garfield County District Court documents.

Gomez was scheduled to appear in front of a 9th District judge at the Garfield County Courthouse on Monday related to the most recent case involved an encounter with his estranged wife in mid-May. Rifle police officers arrested Gomez after his wife said he had broken into her home and harassed her and was throwing objects at her in an attempt to retrieve some belongings.

According to police, Gomez said he hadn't done anything wrong and that he hadn't touched her. His wife told officers he was only allowed in the home when invited.

Officers said in court documents that they found a syringe in Gomez's left pocket while he was in custody, and that he accused them of planting it on him. Police indicated they knew Gomez from previous drug-related run-ins.

In another incident on April 4, a Jay's Restaurant employee called the Rifle Police Department to report "suspicious activity," saying a male had entered the business, asking her to call 911. She said that while she called police, she heard glass breaking outside at a nearby bank, and that the same male had stated he had broken the windows "to get the police to come."

He was suspected of breaking several other windows at businesses in the area, causing more than $5,000 in damages. In January, Gomez was also found during a traffic stop to be in possession of 77.2 grams of methamphetamine and two firearms, according to court records.

A clerk at the Garfield County Courthouse said the three pending cases would be closed following Gomez's death.

Glassmire said there is no current criminal investigation into Gomez's death, and the Garfield County Sheriff's Office said it, too, is waiting on the cause of death first.

"Josh wasn't perfect and had some legal troubles, and we don't know if what happened to Josh was related to what he was going through," his wife said in a phone text statement to the Post Independent. "But if anyone knows anything, please call the authorities.

"His past shouldn't be an issue for closure," she added.